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Over the Hedge - The Movie, Games, and Toys

Over the Hedge - Movie Review

From the makers of Madagascar and Shrek comes Over the Hedge, an animated feature film for families. RJ the raccoon (Bruce Willis) is a loner whose greed gets him into trouble with a bear. An attempt to steal the hibernating bear's large stash of junk food goes wrong, and now RJ has to pay the bear back before the moon is full--in only a week's time.

Over the HedgeRJ heads towards a new suburban development and finds a group of foraging animals as they are coming out of hibernation on the first day of spring. The diverse group of animals, headed by a cautious and caring turtle named Verne (Gary Shandling), wake up to discover an enormous hedge blocking their tried-and-true path to gather grains, nuts, and berries. They have 274 days to fill the hollow tree trunk, and this obstruction leaves the group feeling off-center. RJ presents himself and convinces all of them except practical Verne that they can fill up their trunk in only one week.

Now, RJ's plan is immoral, as he intends to recruit the naive and good-hearted animals to gather the things he needs to escape the bear's wrath. Along the way, however, the animals' hospitality and generosity softens him. They make RJ feel like he's part of a family--a family he didn't have.

RJ's take on suburban life is humorous. He explains that humans drive around in SUV's "because they're losing their ability to walk", for example. He tells the group that "for humans, enough is never enough" and explains that animals "eat to live" and humans "live to eat". Humans (and junk food) are poked fun at, and, up to this point in the movie, it's a humorous perspective that allows us to laugh at ourselves. Later, however, it becomes a little too abrasive for our liking. As funny and entertaining as the film is, we found the moral of the story somewhat lacking in...morals! Yes, RJ made a turnaround and redeemed himself. But, in the process, the animals caused quite a bit of damage as they terrorized the humans. The bad guys are Gladys, a suburbia resident who wants to get rid of the animals, and the Verminator, an over-zealous exterminator who Gladys has hired to do the job. It's funny and kind of satisfying to see these two fail, but the film went to extremes to take them to this point. In our opinion, the movie would have been more satisfying if it didn't turn so high-energy and sadistic near the end.

Despite these gripes, the movie was visually impressive and featured some very likable and memorable characters.

Themes & Language: No suggestible themes noted.

Character Development: The characters are smart and interesting, but none of them stand out as exceptionally endearing. This is the area where the movie is lacking somewhat - the film doesn't tug at the emotions enough to be as memorable as many other movies in the genre, but some parents will appreciate this fact.

Messages: As noted above, there is an overall "tit for tat" theme/message that might not sit well with some families. Otherwise, the story points out the problems with greed and deceit, pokes fun at human's love affair with junk food, and promotes the concept of inclusion and the value of treating friends as family.


Bottom Line: Over the Hedge

At times, Over the Hedge goes over the top. Although the film seems to unnecessarily go to extremes in order to prove a point, the humor is fairly strong and the characters are endearing.

Best For: The movie appeals most to kids who are approximately 8-12 years old.

Movie Rating: B

Reviewed: May 2006

Over the Hedge DVD releases on October 17th, 2006:

Pre-order/buy: Over the Hedge (Full Screen) (DVD)




about our reviews:
All reviews at Edutaining Kids are independent and impartial. Our children's movie reviews are designed to help parents and caregivers find the right films for their kids. Evaluations and ratings are based on educational and entertainment value, age appropriate content, and innovativeness.
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